The “Renounce, divest, and sanction Israel” piece by Professor Price conflates a few separate issues, and then proposes a solution that solves none of them.
Professor Price is alleging two primary harms, one acute and one chronic: The acute issue is that the recent military incursion was disproportionately harmful, and was therefore immoral. The chronic issue is that the occupation limits Gazan access to food, health care and education while dividing families across the wall.
These two claims need to be dealt with separately. Regarding military incursions, maybe they are a bad idea, or they have a history of being managed poorly, or any number of other issues. Regardless, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the incursions do not happen in a vacuum, and they are not ongoing.
I am not taking a stance on whether or not Israel should have gone into Gaza, on this or any other occasion, but it is patently unfair to compare this incident to the occupation as a whole. To say that the assault on Gaza “exposes the brutality of the occupation” is absurd. It was a response to a kidnapping (and rockets being fired), not something that was a predetermined outcome of the occupation.
In regards to Professor Price’s claims about the occupation, all he mentions is: “the construction of a wall that divides families and limits [to] Palestinians’ access to food, health and education.”
If those four items are all that is wrong with the occupation, or at least the majority of the harm, then adopting the BDS movement’s goals seems like the wrong way to go. Only their second goal, “Israel ends its illegal and unconscionable occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, and dismantles the dividing wall” is even a little relevant, and even that one is overkill. It seems all that needs to happen for Professor Price to feel comfortable is for there to be access to more food, health care and education, with families not spilt by the wall.
I think that most reasonable people would both support these goals and find them uncontroversial. Of course Gazans should have sufficient access to food, health care and education. If this is the problem, then there are relatively simple solutions that can be found. Reaching for the BDS movement’s goals ensures that these core issues will be problematized by other, far more contentious concerns.
If someone wants to support the BDS movement, all the power to them. But they should think about the issues, and if BDS solves their issues, or rather a broader, more complicated question.
– Daniel Mosesson is a senior majoring in computer science